Forensic experts in Ivory Coast to probe diplomat death

8th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

ABIDJAN, Feb 8, 2007 (AFP) - A team of three French forensic experts arrived in Ivory Coast to help investigate the death of a European Union security agent shot dead at his home there, investigators said Thursday.

ABIDJAN, Feb 8, 2007 (AFP) - A team of three French forensic experts arrived in Ivory Coast to help investigate the death of a European Union security agent shot dead at his home there, investigators said Thursday.

Police said Michel Niaucel, 54, a French national, died from a bullet wound sustained in the attack at his home on Wednesday. Sources close to the investigations said the gun used was his service pistol.

Ivorian investigators said they had found a 357 Magnum revolver with five cartridges and a spent case in a bathroom cabinet of the former French police chief's house.

The French experts, coming at the request of the Ivorian investigators, will comb through fingerprints and gun powder residue and study the weapon found at Niaucel's villa in a highly guarded residential quarter of Abidjan, the Ivory Coast's economic capital.

The diplomat's wife, who was at the house in Abidjan's commercial district of Plateau at the time of the shooting along with their 13-year-old daughter, has since Wednesday been held by police for questioning.

During her first interview she told police she "had been woken from her sleep by an unfamiliar voice" of someone talking with her husband when the gun went off.

Police said they had ruled out suicide and theft as motives for the crime and that there were no signs of forced entry into the house.

Several diplomats in Abidjan have said the killing did not appear to be politically motivated.

Political violence against Western diplomats has been rare in recent months in this politically volatile former French colony, which is divided into a rebel-held north and a government-ruled south.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Ivory Coast

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